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Francis: A True Texas Grandmother

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This week, I found something in the modern equivalent of my dusty attic that reminded me of how important it is to occasionally stop, remember, and focus on the important things in life.

I found a digital picture of a handwritten note from a woman who had an enormous, lasting, and positive impact on everyone around her. Across the top of the note, she had written, “Happiness Change Card”. It was dated December 21, 1976, when she was 58 years old.

The 22 lines contained advice that I needed to hear again, especially this year. Her words reminded me that during difficult times of political, economic, and spiritual turmoil, it is important to remember who we are and what our goals are.

I’ll reprint her note below, but before I do, I want to briefly introduce her to you.

Her name was Myrtle Wilks. She was my wife’s grandmother and lived to be 84. She was a quiet woman, not to be confused with a lack of strength or wisdom.

I was surprised to realize that she has been gone for 18 years this month. But the impact of her life is still felt in our family, our community, and our state. She was a great example of a real woman and a true Texas grandmother.

As you read her note, you will see that it includes some of the most private information on the planet. I think it is a testimony to her strength that she committed it to paper. Out of respect, I have chosen to redact some specifics.

You might also notice that any mention of politics, as such, is completely absent. I think Myrtle’s focus was on treating people according to the Golden Rule and in a way that transcends modern politics.

Keep in mind that

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